Schafer Georgia

Schafer Georgia Country: South Africa
Laboratory webpage
E-mail: georgia.schafer@icgeb.org

Participation in Working Groups

  • WG1 - Biophysics of cell and tissue structure

Research Interests

Our research focusses on oncogenic viruses relevant in the Sub-Saharan African context, an area that is additionally burdened by an HIV/AIDS epidemic of massive proportions. We have built substantial research expertise on the early molecular mechanisms of Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpes Virus (KSHV) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, particularly on molecules and receptors involved that can potentially be developed into preventative and therapeutic targets. Our research involves both basic laboratory-based in vitro and in vivo studies (using recombinant KSHV virus or HPV virus-like particles, respectively, together with appropriate cell and/or animal models) as well as clinical studies involving nationally recruited patient cohorts. Most recently, we have started to extend our research to targeting the entry mechanisms of SARS-CoV2 into human cells.

Technologies offered to other EuroCellNet participants

- generation of recombinant KSHV virions, HPV virus-like paricles and SARS-CoV2 pseudovirions

- in vitro and in vivo infection assays

- clinical infectious disease research on patients recruited in Sub-Saharan Africa

Technologies sought from other EuroCellNet participants

- NGS

- bioinformatic analysis techniques

- novel imaging techniques

- graduate student and postdoctoral fellow candidates

Publications

1. Ujma S, Carse S, Chetty A, Horsnell W, Clark H, Madsen J, Mackay RM, Watson A, Griffiths M, Katz AA and Schäfer G (2019). Surfactant protein A impairs genital HPV16 pseudovirus infection by innate immune cell activation in a murine model. Pathogens 8(4).

2. Blumenthal MJ, Schutz C, Barr D, Marshall V, Whitby D, Katz AA, Uldrick T, Meintjes G and Schäfer G (2019).The contribution of KSHV to mortality in hospitalized HIV-infected patients being investigated for tuberculosis in South Africa. J Infect Dis 220(5):841-851.

3. Kaschula CH, Tuervi R, Ngarande E, Dzobo K, Barnett C, Kusza DA, Graham LM, Katz AA, Rufadeen S, Parker MI, Hunter R and Schäfer G (2019). The garlic compound ajoene covalently binds vimentin, disrupts the vimentin network and exerts anti-metastatic activity in cancer cells. BMC Cancer 19(1): 248.

4. Blumenthal MJ, Schutz C, Meintjes G, Mohamed Z, Mendelson M, Ambler JM, Whitby D, Mackelprang RD, Carse S, Katz AA and Schäfer G (2018). EPHA2 sequence variants are associated with susceptibility to Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection and Kaposi's sarcoma prevalence in HIV-infected patients. Cancer Epidemiology 56:133-139. 

5. Schäfer G, Graham LM, Lang D, Blumenthal MJ, Bergant Marušič M and Katz AA (2017). Vimentin modulates infectious internalisation of HPV16 pseudovirions. J Virol 91(16): e00307-17.